Kerala Assembly Bypolls; Kerala Voters Battle Heavy Rain
Kerala voters battled heavy rain this morning to vote in bypolls for five Assembly seats in the state. About 10 lakh people are eligible to vote in this election, which was required because MLAs holding four of the five seats were elected to parliament in Lok Sabha polls held earlier this year. A bypoll for the fifth seat was necessary because of the death of the MLA holding the seat.
The five Assembly constituencies where voting is happening are Vatiyoorkavu, Aroor, Konni, Ernakulam and Manjeswaram. The bypoll for Manjeswaram was made necessary because of the death of the sitting MLA – PB Abdul Razack of the Congress.
According to early reports there is heavy rainfall in four of the five constituencies; there is little to no rain in Manjeswaram. Visuals coming in from the rain-hit constituencies show people holding umbrellas to reach polling booths.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued orange alerts warning officials to expect heavy to very heavy rainfall in six districts today, including Thiruvananthapuram and Ernakulam, where elections are being held.
The election for the Vattiyoorkavu is grabbing attention with a triangular battle between the Congress’ K Mohankumar, CPI(M) leader VK Prasanth and the BJP’s S Suresh, who is the party’s district chief.
The opposition has raised the Sabarimala controversey as one of the main issues in this bypoll. The ruling Left Democratic front, led by the CPI(M), has contradicted with the “development” plank.
The UDF, which mopped to victory in 19 of 20 parliamentary seats in the April-May elections, will hope for a similarly dominant performance in this round of bypolls. The alliance holds four of the five seats; the fifth, Aroor, is held by CPI(M) MLA AM Arif.
About 900 polling stations have been set up across the five constituencies. There are a total of 35 candidates standing for election. Polling began at 7 am and is scheduled to end at 6.30 pm. The Chief Electoral Officer has persued reports from District Collectors to extend or postpone voting hours, if necessary.
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